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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Athletics 5: Josh Donaldson hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the 10th. Brett Lawrie, I dunno, sat in his house and binge-watched season two of “Master of None” last night, very satisfied with the season overall, but somewhat troubled at the overly-dramatic and contrived conclusion to the Dev-Francesca arc which, while potentially satisfying in another context, was tonally off compared to the show’s otherwise grounded milieu.

Orioles 9, Pirates 6: Trey Mancini rode pine for eight innings before coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth. He tied the game with a two-run homer there, stayed in the game, and hit a three-run walkoff homer in the 11th. I think we should all take this as an excuse to come in late to work today, telling our bosses that it’s not how you begin the day that matters, but how you end it.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: Rays starter Jacob Faria made his big league debut last night. All he did was take a three-hitter into the seventh inning for his first big league win. After the game, Faria called this the “best two-week span of my life.” The game story then goes on to note that, in a two week period in late May and early June 2011, Faria was drafted by the Rays and then got engaged to be married. I feel like whoever wrote that story was throwing some subtle shade, trying to get Faria in trouble with the missus.

Dodgers 2, Nationals 1: Clayton Kershaw (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K) and Stephen Strasburg (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 8K) had themselves a pitcher’s duel. Kershaw won it, but it he got an assist from Nats catcher Jose Lobaton, who allowed Adrian Gonzalez to reach on a passed ball strike three. Yasmani Grandal then drove him in with a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth.

Rockies 8, Indians 1: Colorado wins its fourth in a row as Nolan Arenado drove in three runs and Charlie Blackmon drove in two more. That was plenty of support for Kyle Freeland, who allowed only one run on six hits while pitching into the seventh. His counterpart, Trevor Bauer, didn’t do so hot. His diagnosis included an ~executed pitches~ moment:

Got myself in trouble by walking people. When I got in jams I feel like I executed pitches to try and get out of them and did the best I could to minimize the damage. The ball didn’t go to people today. I don’t know why.”

I don’t read all the postgame quotes, but any time any of you see some ~executed pitches~ talk, please let me know.

 

Yankees 8, Red Sox 0: CC Sabathia tossed eight shutout innings in the Year of Our Lord 2017, conclusively proving that there is, indeed, life after death. Chris Carter — who has been mostly dead all season — hit a three-run homer and drove in a fourth run with a single. Then again, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Tigers 4, Angels 0: Buck Farmer has made two starts this year. The first one, on May 27, featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out 11. This one featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out five. Farmer left the game with a 1-0 lead, but Justin Upton provided a bunch of insurance with a three-run homer in the eighth.

Reds 6, Cardinals 4: St. Louis had a 4-1 lead in the seventh, but the Reds rallied for five in the bottom half of that inning, thanks mostly to Patrick Kivlehan‘s  pinch-hit three-run homer. Big day for the late arrivers yesterday. The Cardinals, who have been killed by utility guys two nights in a row, have lost six in a row.

Braves 14, Phillies 1Mike Foltynewicz has always had amazing stuff, but like a lot of young fireballers, he hasn’t always been able to control it. If his last two starts are any indication, he’s figuring it out. Foltynewicz tossed seven shutout innings for the second game in a row. Nick Markakis hit three RBI doubles, driving in five as the Braves romped

Mets 4, Rangers 3: The Mets starting pitching was supposed to be their strength coming into the season but for various reasons it’s been their achilles heel. Zack Wheeler, however, helped straighten things out, at least for a night, with seven innings of one run ball. Jay Bruce helped with two homers which drove in three of the Mets’ four runs. Despite all of that it still took a ninth inning error by the Rangers to allow the Mets to score the go-ahead run.

Marlins 6, Cubs 5J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna homered as the Marlins avoid the sweep. Addison Russell had the night off. Yep, just a relaxing night off in which he could clear is mind and sharpen the saw, as the motivational types say. He should be good to go today, refreshed and renewed for the dog days just around the corner, with nothing to trouble his mind.

Brewers 6, Giants 3: Jimmy Nelson had been lights out his last two starts. He wasn’t as sharp last night against the Giants as he was against the Dodgers and Dbacks in those outings, but he still got the job done, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs over seven innings. Sometimes a pitcher just needs some help. Nelson got it from Jesus Aguilar, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the fifth.

Royals 7, Astros 5Jason Vargas scattered six hits over five innings. Cheslor Cuthbert drove in three and Lorenzo Cain hit a solo homer. The Royals were likely happy to have avoided Dallas Keuchel, who was scratched before the game with an unspecified illness that involved barfing and stuff due to what sounds like stomach flu.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury homered in the Snakes’ five-run third inning to back Zack Greinke, who wasn’t as sharp as usual but still got the win. The Padres have dropped four straight.

Mariners 6, Twins 5: Mike Zunino hit two homers, his second one a two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, giving Seattle a walkoff come-from-behind win. Kyle Seager and Carlos Ruiz also homered as the M’s win their ninth in ten games.

Scott Boras: Astros players don’t need to apologize

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Ken Rosenthal spoke to Scott Boras about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Boras’ take: the Astros need not apologize for what they did. They were mere babes in the woods who were ignorant of everything. I wish I was making this up. Scotty Baby:

“I’m doing what my organization is telling me to do,” Boras said on Wednesday, describing the hypothetical mindset of a player. “You installed this. You put this in front of us. Coaches and managers encourage you to use the information. It is not coming from the player individually. It is coming from the team. In my stadium. Installed. With authority.”

The analogy Boras used was the speed limit.

A man driving 55 mph in a 35-mph zone only believes he is speeding if the limit is clearly posted. Likewise, Boras said Astros’ players who committed infractions only should apologize if they were properly informed of their boundaries.

It’s worth noting two things at this juncture: (1) Scott Boras represents José Altuve and Lance McCullers; and (2) He’s 100% full of crap here. Indeed, the contortions Astros players and their surrogates are putting themselves through to avoid accountability is embarrassing.

The players knew what they were doing.  Please do not insult me by saying they didn’t. Boras is doing what he thinks he needs to do to protect his guys. I get it, that’s his job. His client Altuve in particular stepped on it last weekend when he and other Astros players tried to play the “we’re going to overcome this adversity/no one believed in us” card which played terribly, and the super agent is trying to clean up the mess as best he can. Hat tip to him for his hustle, which he has never not shown. Guy’s a pro.

But he can only do so much because this all remains on the Astros’ players. Yes, the formal punishment is on the manager, the general manager and the club, and I agree that it had to be given all of the complications of the situation, but now that that’s over, it’s time for some honest accountability. And we’re getting zero of it.

Which is insane because the players were given immunity. They’re 100% in the clear. That they cheated has angered a lot of people, but it does not make them irredeemable. As I have noted here many times, lots of others did too. But their lack of accountability over the past couple of weeks speaks very, very poorly of them.

“We crossed a line. No question. We’re sorry. We don’t think it caused us to win anything we didn’t earn, but we see how we created that perception ourselves through our own actions. We shouldn’t have done that. Going forward we’re going to be better. Again, we’re sorry.”

That’s about all it’d take and it’d be done. It’d be pretty easy to say, if for no other reason than because that’s probably what’s gone through their minds anyway. They’re not bad people.

But they’re also observers of America in 2020 and, I suspect, everything they’ve seen, consciously or unconsciously, has counseled against them saying those very simple words or something like them.

Everything that’s going on in America right now — politics especially — tells people that the path to success is to cheat, steal and lie in order to benefit themselves and themselves only. It’s also telling them that, if they get caught, they should lie and deny too. It works. The media, for the most part, will not call anyone of status out on a lie, even if the lie is ridiculous. At most it will repeat the denial like a stenographer reading back from a transcript fearing that to do any more would be to — gasp! — reveal an opinion. “Shlabotnik says that he was cloned by Tralfamadorians and it was his clone, not him, who stole the signs.” Heaven forbid someone add the word “falsely” in there. They won’t because if they do they’re going to be accused of being “biased” or “political” or whatever.

If you see that — and we all see it — why wouldn’t you be predisposed to avoid apologizing for anything? Why wouldn’t you try to offer some canned, facially neutral talking points and hope that everyone is satisfied that you’ve spoken? Why wouldn’t you, having done that for a few weeks, begin to believe that, actually, you’re right not do say anything more. And  that, maybe, you were never in the wrong at all? That’s were we are as a country now, that’s for sure. And given that sports reflects society, it should not be at all surprising that that attitude has infected sports as well.

Astros owner Jim Crane tells Rosenthal that there could be an apology in spring training. “Quite frankly, we’ll apologize for what happened, ask forgiveness and move forward,” Crane said.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that when someone says “quite frankly,” what follows is going to be insincere most of the time. Another thing I’ve learned is that, in comments such as Crane’s, the emphasis is strongly on the “move forward” part of things. He wants an apology to put an end to a bad news cycle. When it comes, it will be P.R.-vetted and couched in the most sterile and corporate language imaginable. It will be anything but sincere.

In the meantime, the rest of the Astros don’t seem to want to offer an apology at all. Why should they? What’s making them?